Sunday, October 29, 2006

Greasing the Pipes

My baby is transforming before my very eyes. Over this past weekend Dan and I could not help but notice how much our daughter has been growling lately. Snarling, really, looking us directly in the eye and sneering at any attempt we make to empathize with her feelings. At first we thought she was constipated, then frustrated, that it was her cold, until finally we concluded that our baby is just mean. She’s bossy, temperamental, demanding, adorable, and now that she is doing this new crinkle thing with her nose she is down right irrefutable.

Cohen took three poops today. The first was a little rock poop when she woke up. I changed her and began my day worrying that she was constipated despite my vegan diet and the fact that lately all we feed her is pear and blueberry applesauce to keep her little pipes greased. Then, within the next hour, she followed up that first poop with a second poop that was like an ass bomb exploded in her pants. I was relieved, as it was medically obvious that once she had gotten the rock poop out she could return to her normal disgusting bowl movements.

So, this afternoon, in the middle of my trying to teach her to nap in her crib I noticed that she stunk. We had already been at the “crying it out, walking in and out of the room, back rubbing, desperation pleading, mommy crying in the hallway” phase of the experiment when I noticed the third poopy diaper. I took her out of the crib, resigned to quitting for the day, and put her on the changing table. As soon as I opened the diaper Cohen had her foot planted in her fresh poop. I guess I had that coming after the crying it out. I changed her and we climbed into mommy and daddy’s bed to take a nap, two hours after I had begun trying to lay her down for a nap in her crib. I don’t know what I am going to do when she outgrows her swing.

I don’t mind co sleeping. Dan and I enjoy having her close to us, she doesn’t flip around, and aside from the spear she has chucked into what used to be our sex life she is a delight to room with. My question is this… if we co sleep, when does it end? I believe in a lot of natural parenting approaches, but “child led” anything contradicts anything I have ever believed about successful parenting. Our 6 month old doesn’t know what’s best for her, Dan and I do, that’s why we’re her parents. How can I believe that Cohen is the best member of the family to decide when asserting her independence will be right?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Short One Bag of Candy Corn

We’re working on Cohen napping solo again this afternoon. Something about buying a house, taking a full course load, and keeping up my blog seemed too easy, I guess. I was still sleeping well at night and that simply would not do. So, I chose to begin teaching Cohen to sleep solo.

Don’t get me wrong, she still sleeps in bed with us. I don’t even need her out of our bed right now, but I do need her to be able to fall asleep outside of my arms. The only way she does that with me is if I put her in her swing. She is out there in her swing now and I can hear the grinding of the motor as she reaches up and pulls at the plush fish that spin on the attached mobile above her. She is outgrowing the swing. I had been in denial that this day would ever come and here it is.

A friend called me this afternoon, while I was in the middle of letting her cry it out for 15 minutes in her crib. We had already done a 10 minute stretch, after which I went in, picked her up, rocked her and then put her back down. I took the call because while I might have been a bit distracted from my friend, being on the phone would keep me from going back in there.

I explained to my friend what I was doing and he asked if most babies would just cry themselves to sleep eventually. I said I had heard this, yes. He asked then, why don’t I just leave her in there for 30 minutes? I explained that she has never been awake and alone for 30 minutes. I explained that this would be impossible because after only 10 minutes of her wailing my breasts begin to ache, my milk comes in, and I feel as nauseous as I did the first 2 months of my pregnancy. Little did I know that 20 minutes later I would be getting off of the phone with him and calling my husband for desperate support to keep me from going in there. He was busy. My mom wasn’t home. My mother in law was in a meeting. I went in there.

I put her in the stroller and took her for a walk. She slept for less than 5 minutes. At 2 p.m. this afternoon she has not slept all day and is in the living room brutalizing those helpless plush fish attached to swing that can barely hold her. Meanwhile I have an obscene amount of homework due this weekend that I have not even begun. The house is a mess and I have nothing planned for dinner.

Cohen wants me. She wants me all the time now. For me to leave her alone at any time seems to just piss her off. She isn’t scared. She is pissed. Last night Dan took her into bed so I could brush my teeth and get ready to go to sleep. She screamed for me and would not let him comfort her. We know better than to give into this behavior, so I just went about what I was doing, saying hello when I passed her, playing peek a boo while I brushed my teeth. Finally I was ready for bed, but she needed a fresh diaper. I went to her and picked her up to take her to change her diaper.After crying all the while I had been getting ready, as soon as she was in my arms she spun around to Dan and shot him a huge grin. As if to say, “I own her now.”

She is so aware of everything, so into everything. And while it is amazing to watch her grow and discover the world it is also no longer cool to have sex with her in the room. Which is a sort of non issue anyway since she is not only in the room, but in the bed.

Last night, after she fell asleep on my left side, I rolled over to cuddle with Dan on my right. We kissed a little and were each deciding if it was going to be worth getting out of bed to make love, or as so many parents do, should we stifle the urge and get our much needed Z’s. Being careful not to cross the “inappropriate touching while the baby is in your bed” line, Cohen rolled over three times until she was asleep, face down, pressed up against my back.

These are the time when change seems inevitable. No matter how hard it will be, this must change. I suggest to Dan that we could just roll down onto the floor and make love quietly on the dog’s bed. No? Can you believe he didn’t go for that? So, here we are, the adults, the ones that run the show and pay the rent, sneaking off into another room of the house again.

Her stubbornness is astounding and I know it comes from her father who is physically incapable of surrendering his original stance in any situation. This child is going to rub her puffy eyes, and doze off in the middle of crying and telling me she is not tired, only to snap awake again for a split second and continue with her argument. That’s fine. I did not marry Dan despite this quality of his, I love it. I envy his resolution.

Dan and I are both lazy when it comes to anything anyone else asks us to do. The only difference is that when Coco is 5, and asks me 150 times for a bag of candy corn I am eventually going to get so frustrated and frazzled that I will grab the bag and toss it as far from my body as possible so that she must stop pestering me and just leave me alone for five seconds in order to retrieve it, Where as Dan, steadfast and true, is more likely to break out his teacher’s voice, give her a resounding but loving “NO”, and send her off in a huff, short one bag of candy corn.

She's asleep. I just looked. All the fish are still on the mobile and while the swing bows under her weight, she naps another day. I don’t know whether to drink or do my math homework to celebrate.

After Note: Cohen slept from 2 - 4 p.m. in her swing. I nursed her when she woke and she fell right back to sleep for another 30 minutes on the couch.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Raising A Cockblocker

I know, I know... I am never going to make a living off of a website if I never post. Things have been so busy for Team Jackson. Dan has been overloaded at work for the past two weeks, making him a near stranger around these parts. We barely get to eat together so the only time we have is at night if we all go to bed when Dan goes to bed which is around 9 p.m. It used to be that I got all of my "me" time in late nights while Cohen slept, but she doesn't sleep anymore. Ever. That's dramatic. She will sleep at night, right between us, and hand touching each of us, making sure no one is going anywhere. We've raised a cock blocker. Did it to ourselves too. She was sleeping fine in her bassinet from 5 weeks old through 4 and a half months and for some reason we started bringing her back into bed. Maybe we were tired of all the sex we got to have for 3 months. We decided we were all set on the sex. That's right. Now if we ever want to do it, we have to do it somewhere other than our bed. Because we are both so fundamentally lazy, getting out of bed to go have sex is where we draw the line.

So we brought her large play pen into the room to use as her crib, and as soon as we are ready we will try retraining her. The problem is it is hard to commit to doing this. Can't do it at bed time because we are tired. Can't do it during the day because I simply cannot do this alone. It all comes down to admitting all those "can't"s I just mentioned are actually "won't"s and we just have to muster up a little parenting will power. Suck it up. 6 months is officially (for Team Jackson) the age when we have to actually parent, we can no longer coast by on our breast milk at will policy and letting her nap in the swing, which as you can see from the picture below has a new minor flaw.

On the housing front, we sent in our loan application last week and have heard nothing but the desperate beating of our nervous little hearts. I would be obsessing over this, only I started school last week. Online classes at the community college. I hate to be the jerk that says it, since who knows how many of you have earned your degree on line, but this shit is harder than I thought! Seriously, when did online classes become real school? I figured I would take a full course load, use the financial aid to help pay our mortgage and go online once a week to hand in some bogus homework. I'm doing college algebra, begging Dan to take Cohen for a walk so I can call in my spanish homework and writing essays on urban sprawl to try to make up for the D I got on my plagiarism test. Dang.

To let you know how much I appreciate your tuning in, even when it takes me two weeks to post, here is a picture of what Dan dressed Cohen in this morning so that he could take her out while I got some school work done. He was so proud, he called into me how adorable she looked. When I came out of the office to say goodbye it went like this:

L: "Wow, this is the first time she looks like her father dressed her."

D: "I've dressed her before."

L: "I know, but this is the first time she looks like her father dressed her."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cool As a Molten Cucumber

Well, it's been a busy weekend. This was the weekend that Dan and I were determined to stay home instead of going to my mother in laws, or even my parents house. We said we'd watch a movie, maybe go to the drive in... so we bought a house.

We drove back down to Queen Creek, taking a different road than the one that had flooded before, and the drive was easy. There were some homes listed with DR Horton starting at 121k, and I knew they would be bare boned, and far. Earlier this week I had run the numbers on what we would qualify for, with Dan's mom, who is a loan officer, and we had been overestimating what we could afford.

We were shopping like we both had paying jobs. Some may have been trouble to hear they couldn't afford the homes they had been looking at, but it's important to me not to get down on the lifestyle we have chosen. Our situation is a choice. I get to stay home with Cohen. If I went back to work we could probably afford a 200k home between the two of us, but my chest tightens and my heart palpitates every time I even think about leaving her yet. So, I get creative. And I don't get down when we get rejected. I look for a cheaper house, investigate the longer commute, and sometimes, like this weekend, we luck out.

The Kitchen

The View from "our" backyard

We signed the paperwork last night, but we're saving the champagne until closing. This next 30-60 days is the worst. The not knowing. The part of the relationship where we could still get dumped for no reason. The fear. The need to pack, to rent out our current residence, to arrange a move and budget for our new expenses (all the while not sure if we really can afford this) runs concurrent with the need to not get our hopes up, to keep our cool, to be prepared to get back out there and keep looking of we can't afford this home. I think we can handle that. If we bear down we can get through the uncertainty, and even come out the other side of a rejection feeling alright about ourselves. The hard part is, I want to enjoy this. I told Dan we just have to let go.

This could be the purchase of our first home, and we don't want to spend the next 30-60 days freaking out. We are going to be cool as cucumbers. Cucumbers that hold their breath for 30-60 days. Look at us... we're so transparent. You can just tell we'll explode if we get rejected, and our ashes will crawl under rocks in disappointment and shame. So young, so are a few pics of Team Jackson's exposed little nerves in their potential new home.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This Steak Tastes Like A Shoe

Our daughter, a.k.a. the heckler, will be six months old next week. Her milestones met and surpassed include screeching for sport, full time nap protesting, mastery of the raking reflex proven by tiny red scratches on my breasts obtained during her feedings, long rolling trains of ma... ma... ma... ma...and da... da... da... da... coming from her mouth and my two favorites... spitting and growling. She is also rolling from back to front and front to back, sitting up with little assistance, and pooping little solid people turds instead of something that looks like it dripped out of a rusty pipe. I prefer the rusty pipe poops myself, though I think I prefer Dan get the people turds.

It's hard to watch our baby grow. This week we got rid of her bassinet. Not that she ever uses it anyway, she has a full time job sleeping between Dan and I, ensuring her place as the only child. But on one of the few occasions I went to put her down in her bassinet, her grape ape arm span caused her hands to hit on both sides and she woke up.

At first I was excited, I knew the consignment store I take all of her things to needed bassinets and that we would get to trade for something cool, but by the time Dan was gathering the parts to take it down I cried. Our baby. Our teeny tiny baby that I was once afraid to squish if she slept in my bed has now outgrown a bed all her own.

On another note, about 3 weeks ago I stopped eating meat, and have phased dairy out of my diet almost completely. I plan to live on an entirely vegan diet, but for now, I am too cheap to waste any food. As it stands, I have about 1/4 c. of plain yogurt I've been using for cooking and 12 eggs I probably won't use, because when you convert to veganism eggs are immediately one of the easiest animal products to give up on principle.

If you've ever considered veganism and are looking for a successful way to stay trim while maintaining your self loathing, this is the book that got me started, Skinny Bitch.

Of course becoming a vegan and taking Dan and Cohen with me means several things. Mostly, Dan is probably not coming with me. Though he did turn down chicken in his dinner tonight (chicken my mother smuggled into my fridge for his survival!), and he will try whatever I make, I cannot control his cheeseburger intake no matter how hard I try. What he does at the Sonic drive in is not my business. Cohen, on the other hand, is my full time business. Being the spaz I am, I read the book, decided that be a vegan was the only way to go and instantly told Dan that I didn't want anyone giving our daughter animal products ever.

This resulted in a heated quarrel that I went on to obsess over for three days. Finally we agreed to not feed her the two jars of ground meat baby food that his mother bought her. I convinced him of this by reading aloud how sometimes bad meat is ground in with good meat to make baby food.

So, on Saturday we take the bassinet to the consignment store and begin looking for a few winter outfits for our trip to NY, considering Halloween costumes, and trying shoes on Cohen, because ever since Ila and Ashlee bought her her first pair, I am obsessed with her having more shoes.

I have Cohen on the floor, laying on her back while I try shoes on her and Dan is walking back and forth with hats, bibs, and tights to show us. I put back the size two shoes and as I am pulling down the bin with the size threes I catch Cohen, head turned to one side, licking the bottom of my tennis shoe! Ack!

I am a terrible mother. I pick her up and squeeze her to my body, as I often do when she has come to possible harm due to my negligence. I screamed to myself, "Maybe if you spent less time arguing about meals she's not even old enough to eat and spent more time engaging her, she would not now be developing the rare shoe licking intestinal worm that will inevitably devour her from the inside out before your mother in law even has the chance to offer her a piece of turkey at Thanksgiving!"

With dramatics like that it's surprising I take her anywhere. Later that weekend Cohen ate through the paper on packaging for her new pacifiers, swallowed a piece of fuzz while trying on costumes, and pulled a big tangle of my hair and lint out of the living room rug with her mouth. I got over it. The doc says her poops are different because of the change in my diet, I think it's because all of the hair and lint she eats is backing her up like a clogged drain.

A Note to Cohen: Waking up this morning I felt like no job other than being your mother has been such a joy to get up for everyday. You crush me with your smile, your soft skin, your mean little growls and the way you chew on my face with your tough little gums. I know you are trying your best to get this tooth out, and when I dose you on Tylenol every night, know that I do this for you as much as for your father and I. Because let me tell you kid, giving you Tylenol before bed is like feeding the dog pot brownies. You are hilarious. Last night you sat with your father and ogled the TV while Pee Wee's Playhouse was on. Then, with a reeling laugh you threw your body to one side and began franticly slapping your father. You caught me laughing and began laughing hysterically at my laughter. We love you more than any mountain will ever bear. You are the best thing that ever happened to your father and I, and one day you will hear the story of how you came to us at a time when you were needed more than we could ever relay to you in words alone. One day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Session 1

Sitting outside of my new therapist's office I go over the check list of what is wrong with me, what needs repair, and I strategize my healing in the best case scenario, my escape in the worst case. I park on the street and look at the other houses in my therapist's neighborhood. The houses are nice. If they weren't I would equate this with a bad therapist. If she is going to help me she has to have done well enough for herself to live in a neighborhood where the families can afford nannies (middle aged Hispanic woman walking by with white baby in a stroller... check) and most of the houses have a third car garage. My therapist has turned her third car garage into her office. I am parked in front of her house. I notice that her mailbox is missing one of the digits of her house number. I wonder what kind of a person could let that go.

A woman walks out to the Suzuki Esteem parked in the driveway, she makes eye contact with me and I wonder if this is the doctor coming to look for me. Of course it isn't. It is the patient before me. Definitely crazy. She didn't look good. I walk into the office and it is decorated in Native American motif circa 1987. Why am I constantly going to doctors who decorate their offices as if it were still 1987? My OB/GYN has pink plush chairs with textured wallpaper in his waiting room and had Styx playing in the operating room when my daughter was born.

She greets me, not at all what I expected she has long gray hair, wear a peasant skirt with a black t-shirt and turquoise jewelry. The chair that I have to sit in when I am there forces me to lean forward or recline completely. I will eventually work up the nerve to mention this. The session goes well, at the end she asks if there is anything I would like to know about her. I tell her I saw on her profile that she was Jewish and commended her for that. She thanks me. Does she have kids. No. I ask her what is up with all of the Native American art, does she have some sort of spiritual connection with the Navajo. She says no, she just finds it is a popular design scheme in the area so she buys it. Weird. I like this. While I am mulling over more inappropriate personal questions to ask, she tells me I can write down any I think of and bring them back next week.

As I am walking out to my car there is a paraplegic across the street talking to woman in a jogging suit. He has dwarfed arms and legs and I am staring at him waiting for him to look over and judge me for being crazy. Who is he to judge me. No one. Not until 3 days later do I figure out that when my shrink asks if I have anything I want to ask her, she means about her methods and goals with my therapy and is not fishing for compliments on being a Jew. That poor guy in the wheelchair probably thought I was judging him. I was staring with such a freakish gawk he probably didn't have to wonder if I was crazy at all, it was obvious.

Session 2

I only have about 53 minutes to talk, so I have to choose what is bothering me the most this week and try to get through that without getting sidetracked by something that happened in my childhood, my feelings about eating meat, or my friend's problems. I prioritize the best in therapy, mostly because I have no idea how much it is costing me or when my insurance company is going to put the kibosh on my sessions. Merry made a joke, telling me to tell my shrink about something she does to me to which I replied "I cannot afford to talk about you. I am still organizing my therapy topics and I have a lot of work to get done on my relationship with my mother in law not to mention my own parents". I am as cheap in a session as I am at a flea market.

If I do let the topic wander to a friend or Dan and the Doc says anything about anyone else, I quickly change the subject so as not to waste my 53 minutes helping others. I am a mother now. I don't get "me" time unless I am paying for it, so to me, these 53 minutes are sacred and I would sooner talk about the fact that I can't go into the reptile section of the zoo for fear that a snake might somehow escape from its cage, slither up my leg, enter my body through my vagina, and become my spine, controlling me like it's own snakey go cart making me do snakey things all over the rest of the zoo than talk about my friend's problems.

Session 3

Cancelled. Session 4 will be later this week.

Papa Don't Preach... I'm Keeping My Volvo

There was a point in my life where I thought I would never be able to afford a Volvo before I was 40. When I was looking to sell my last truck and in the market for something safer in which Cohen could be driven through the desert, I made the mistake of calling my friend Ryan, who told me that nothing safe exists for under $10,000. I panicked and he backpedaled by telling me he had heard good things about the Volvo wagon. They are cool, hip, safe, and reliable. We also had a friend that works on them. Dan agreed that this was a good way to go and we began shopping.

I immediately got my heart set on a white Volvo sedan that was out of our price range. After test driving it, realizing we couldn't afford it, and getting totally bummed out, I flipped through the Auto Trader once more and saw what would soon become our 1995 Emerald Green Volvo 850 Turbo wagon. The sellers seemed nice enough. They loved the car, wanted to keep it but were converting to bio-fuel. Needed a diesel wagon. Included with our purchase was a binder containing a receipt for every repair ever done to this car since the day it drove off the lot. The book was thick and it was hard to decide if this was helpful stroke of luck or if it an obvious omen.

The car was listed for $5300. Our budget was $5500. We drove the car and loved it, aside from a few aesthetic dings the car seemed to be in great shape. I asked the lowest price they would consider. The husband immediately drops the price to $4600, while Dan and I had already counted out $4800 to offer. We were so shocked and excited that the he dropped the price so much we forgot to continue bartering, didn't even think to ask why he would drop the price so low, and gave the man the money.

On the drive home we tried to put a tape in the cassette player and it would not play. It rained the next week and the driver side windshield wiper is warped so it would not clear the driver's view. Within a month, our friend that worked on Volvos moved back east to Maine. A month and a half later the brakes went out while I was pulling out of my parking space at the market. New brakes, front and back and a new brake line cost us $472. A month and a half after that the car began locking and unlocking itself whenever we drove over a bump. Then, last week, a shudder when braking at high speeds became noticeable. Had to have the rotors flipped, $80. While driving the Volvo this morning the locks were constantly locking and unlocking in rapid succession until the motors died one at a time, leaving only the driver's side lock click... clic...cli... dead. Manual locks. Fine by me.

At this point, I am happy that it cost so little to flip the rotors, I believe the mechanic when he tells me I have a good car, and feel that the manual locks are a gift because we got them for free. Dan, on the other hand, is officially over the Volvo. He sent me an ad for a Hyundai last week, to consider instead. I introduced myself as his wife and asked if we've ever met. I drive trucks. I conceded to a wagon because it was a Volvo. His counter argument is that while we could afford a Volvo, we cannot afford to maintain a Volvo. So here we are - do I sell while it is working condition, get out while I can, or drive it until I kill it again and then have to take less than half of what I paid for it because I am stuck selling a broken car? If you think I am going to choose the former, think back to when I found the booklet of repair receipts to be a helpful stroke of luck.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Let Go and Let Dan

With the hunt on for the perfect infant Halloween costume it has been hard to take the time to sit down and write about last weekend. Earlier this week I thought I had found the perfect Lion's costume for Cohen, but after washing it (as per the instructions!!) the mane dreaded and now we must find another costume. Still, we managed to get a few photos in...

Last weekend was our one year anniversary. As a gift to one another we rented a car and went to San Diego for a long weekend. It was Cohen's first long car ride, and I cannot sing her praise loudly enough. We left at 9 p.m. on Friday for fear of traveling with Cohen at all and she slept the entire drive. When we arrived at 3 a.m. she woke up, visited with my brother, Uncle Clarke, and then fell promptly back to sleep. Amazing.

In the morning, we secured a room at Motel 6 and headed into Encinitas for breakfast.

We ate at St. Germain's Cafe in Encinitas, where we got to experience the best coffee anywhere in North County. Afterwards, we headed down to the beach, where the sun was just cutting through the fog and poor Cohen, without sun block, was shoveled back into the car. That afternoon we went to Uncle Clarke's surf shop, Mitch's, in Solana Beach for some discount shopping. Cohen had just fallen asleep and I knew there was no way she would stay that way.

Lorraine is Mitch's sister, she runs my brother's shop, and there is no way to describe her voice outside of saying it is what a dolphin would sound like, had the dolphin inhaled helium and taken English lessons from a chipmunk. And this chipmunk goes to 11. As soon as we walk though the door Cohen hears Lorraine talking to a customer and her eyes shoot open, darting around the store trying to match this heavenly noise with it's source. This voice is sheer ecstasy for Cohen. Lorraine is the embodiment of all the cartoons and children's music Cohen has experienced up to this point in her little life. I hand Cohen over to Lorraine, and she spends the next hour trying to reach into Lorraine's throat to pull out that sugar coated squeak box this woman uses for a speaking voice.

The next morning we meet my hung over brother at Pipe's Cafe in Cardiff. Amazing. Cheap, delicious food with a great cup of coffee and fresh banana bread, crammed into a tiny shack where the food is served on paper plates and the seating is minimal. The girl at the register is a little surfer girl, complete with the Lori Petty scratch voice and super meth. energy without the nasty side effects you get from actually taking meth. to get that way. She wears turquoise eye shadow and is super excited to take our order. I cannot help but envy her natural high.

We got a table inside, and just as our food was served a bird flew into the restaurant and fluttered along the window behind Dan. This is not good. Immediately all I can imagine is this bird flying into Dan's head causing Dan to erupt in some arm flailing bird killing movement that will force me to hide under the table in embarrassment. Clarke senses our discomfort and offers to help. He gets up to try to open the window for the bird, but the window is already open and Clarke is actually closing it. Another guy standing in line comes over to help my brother. Meanwhile, the little surfer girl behind the counter is yelling, "Just catch it!, Just grab it! Just grab it! You can just grab it with your hands!". My brother replies, "I plan to eat my breakfast with these hands".

Dan is just staring straight ahead at me while all of this goes on behind him, and we are both just praying that this will not have to result in some queer twist of fate where Dan ends up strangling this bird to death, because if it had to come to that, that is exactly what Dan might do. Finally, surfer girl comes out from behind the counter, grabs the bird and tosses it outside leaving my brother and the other dude that stepped out of line to help, looking like a couple of pansies who were afraid of a tiny bird. Clarke sits down at the table and Dan says, "Thanks man. If I would have had to deal with that I probably would have ended up killing that bird and everybody in here would have been like, 'Thumbs down dude, not cool!'"

We took some great video of Cohen trying to steal avacado from my fork, and then trying eat through my cheek when she missed it, glaring angrily at the camera, and I am trying to download it from Verizon, a task that has proven obscenely difficult. That evening we went to St. Tropez Cafe for cake and coffee. We bought Cohen a hat. A bold hat that Dan picked out so that when Cohen looks back over her life she can see her father supplied most of the color, when her mother always wanted everything to match. Sometimes I just have to "Let Go and Let Dan".

We went to Moonlight beach as the sun was setting, and while Clarke and Dan refused to take off their shoes, I left my flip flops in the sand and walked into the tide with Cohen in her sling. The water was freezing and Cohen was mesmerized. I wanted her to have the experience of the ocean I remember from being a child. The beach is my God, huge, as dangerous as it is beautiful and filled with life and death. I held her facing the expansive sea, I sang softly in her ear and she drifted off to sleep in my arms. A true first. In two weeks, she will be 6 months old and I am in awe that I, in this tiny body of mine, can feel a love big enough to swallow the ocean in one easy gulp.